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Interprovincial Migration in China: The Effects of Investment and Migrant Networks

Author

Listed:
  • Bao, Shuming

    () (University of Michigan)

  • Bodvarsson, Örn B.

    () (California State University, Sacramento)

  • Hou, Jack W.

    () (California State University, Long Beach)

  • Zhao, Yaohui

    () (Peking University)

Abstract

Since the 1980s, China’s government has eased restrictions on internal migration. This easing, along with rapid growth of the Chinese economy and substantial increases in foreign and domestic investments, has greatly stimulated internal migration. Earlier studies have established that migration patterns were responsive to spatial differences in labor markets in China, especially during the 1990s. However, other important economic and socio-political determinants of interprovincial migration flows have not been considered. These include the size of the migrant community in the destination, foreign direct and domestic fixed asset investments, industry and ethnic mixes and geographic biases in migration patterns. We estimate a modified gravity model of interprovincial migration in China that includes as explanatory variables: migrant networks in the destination province, provincial economic conditions, provincial human capital endowments, domestic and foreign investments made in the province, industry and ethnic mixes in the province, provincial amenities and regional controls, using province-level data obtained from the National Census and China Statistical Press for the 1980s and 1990s. We find strong evidence that migration rates rise with the size of the destination province’s migrant community. Foreign and domestic investments influence migration patterns, but sometimes in unexpected ways. We find that as economic reforms in China deepened in the 1990s, the structure of internal migration did not change as much as earlier studies have suggested. Consequently, our results raise new questions about the World’s largest-scale test case of internal migration and strongly suggest a need for further research.

Suggested Citation

  • Bao, Shuming & Bodvarsson, Örn B. & Hou, Jack W. & Zhao, Yaohui, 2007. "Interprovincial Migration in China: The Effects of Investment and Migrant Networks," IZA Discussion Papers 2924, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2924
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Yaohui Zhao, 1997. "Labor Migration and Returns to Rural Education in China," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(4), pages 1278-1287.
    2. Zai Liang, 2001. "The Age of Migration in China," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 27(3), pages 499-524.
    3. Zhao, Yaohui, 2002. "Causes and Consequences of Return Migration: Recent Evidence from China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 376-394, June.
    4. Zai Liang & Yiu Por Chen & Yanmin Gu, 2002. "Rural Industrialisation and Internal Migration in China," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 39(12), pages 2175-2187, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Zhao Chen & Shiqing Jiang & Ming Lu & Hiroshi Sato, 2008. "How Do Heterogeneous Social Interactions Affect the Peer Effect in Rural-Urban Migration?: Empirical Evidence from China," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd08-008, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    2. Meng, Xin & Xue, Sen, 2017. "Social Networks and Mental Health Problems: Evidence from Rural-to-Urban Migrants in China," IZA Discussion Papers 10481, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. de Sousa, José & Poncet, Sandra, 2011. "How are wages set in Beijing?," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 9-19, January.
    4. repec:wyi:journl:002154 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Su, Yaqin & Tesfazion, Petros & Zhao, Zhong, 2017. "Where Are Migrants from? Inter- vs. Intra-Provincial Rural-Urban Migration in China," IZA Discussion Papers 11029, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Ouyang, Puman & Fu, Shihe, 2012. "Economic growth, local industrial development and inter-regional spillovers from foreign direct investment: Evidence from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 445-460.
    7. repec:pje:journl:article27sumvi is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:pje:journl:article27sumvii is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Meng, Xin & Zhang, Dandan, 2010. "Labour Market Impact of Large Scale Internal Migration on Chinese Urban 'Native' Workers," IZA Discussion Papers 5288, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    internal migration; investment; migrant networks;

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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